Whittle’s record-setting high school athletic career winding down

By SCOTTY NICHOLS
Sports Editor

IAHS’s Caleb Whittle just closed the book on the most decorated

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM IAHS senior Caleb Whittle shattered receiving records on the football field during his tenure as an Indian, and looks to cap off a stellar high school athletic career with strong showings in baseball, as well as track and soccer.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
IAHS senior Caleb Whittle shattered receiving records on the football field during his tenure as an Indian, and looks to cap off a stellar high school athletic career with strong showings in baseball, as well as track and soccer.

career of a wide receiver in Indian football’s program history.

Whittle pulled in 122 passes for more than 2,500 yards and 28 touchdowns over the last four years, including a pair of 1,000-yard receiving seasons as a junior and senior.

Those numbers are, far and away, superior to any wideout’s who has ever donned an Itawamba AHS uniform.

“It was an easy transition for me,” said Whittle. “We had a great group of seniors that helped us out a lot during my freshman year. Tylon [Ward] and Peyton [Green] played a big role in helping the young guys adjust to the high school game. They never let us leave practice without knowing everything we needed to know. They were just great leaders.”

Whittle’s illustrious high school football career also included a highlight play that reached No. 1 on ESPN’s flagship program, SportsCenter.

Whittle shared the play with current East Mississippi Community College quarterback Vijay Miller and ICC baseball-signee Russell Bunch, who was the tight end that scored on the play.

“That was pretty cool, I can’t lie,” said Whittle. “That was great effort and awareness by Vijay and Russell to make that play happen. It was just awesome.”

Whittle played through a pair of injuries during his senior football campaign, including a nagging and continuous bout with turf toe.

“People don’t realize how painful a toe injury is,” said Whittle, whose 4.5-second 40-yard dash time is evidence that speed is one of his biggest assets. “You can’t run like normal, you can’t cut, you can’t jump. Every single step hurts. I had to get some padded inserts to try and relieve the pain enough to play through it.”

Whittle doesn’t have time to be injured, though.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM Whittle slips past a Saltillo defender during the 2015 season for one of his 28 career receiving touchdowns.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
Whittle slips past a Saltillo defender during the 2015 season for one of his 28 career receiving touchdowns.

The senior multi-sport standout began practicing with the soccer team as soon as football season ended a couple of weeks ago, and will make the transition directly into baseball and track when soccer concludes in the spring.

“I wanted to play soccer to stay in shape between football and baseball seasons, but I really enjoy it,” said Whittle, who is in his first season of high school soccer. “I wanted to do it, initially, because of the conditioning but it’s a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to helping the guys’ team make the playoffs for the first time ever.”

When spring rolls around, Whittle will spend most of his time on the baseball diamond, where he has been a starter in center field since his sophomore season, and also did some spot-starting as a freshman.

Whittle led the Indians with a .455 batting average last spring and uses his blazing speed to cover a lot of ground in the outfield, and has entertained college offers to play baseball, as well as football.

“There have been some schools that have offered and some who are in contact with both sports,” he said. “I tend to lean toward whatever sport is in season, and I honestly don’t know what I’ll be doing next year. Right now, since football season was just over, I’m leaning toward football but that could change between now and spring time.”

Whittle is also a standout track athlete, and will juggle his time on the track as well as on the diamond this spring.

“I qualified for north half in track last year, but it fell on the same day as a baseball playoff game. It just kind of stinks that I have to make decisions like that when I wish I could do both.”

Regardless, Whittle will look to encore his historic football career with solid efforts on the pitch, the diamond and the track to close out his career as an IAHS Indian.

“It’s been a fun ride here,” he said. “I’m just gonna try to end it with a bang.”

scotty.nichols@journalinc.com
Twitter: @ScotNic24

About Scotty Nichols

Graduate of THE University of Mississippi. #HottyToddy. I like sports. And BBQ.

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